Couples at Reader Weekend in RI

Couples at Reader Weekend in RI: Completing the romantic equation

<p>Romance generally isn’t a solo enterprise. So it makes perfect sense that both halves of the romantic equation attend a weekend devoted to the places a prolific and award-winning romance author writes about. That’s why quite a few husbands attended the recent Marie Force Fourth Annual Reader Weekend in RI with their wives.</p><p>Brent Hockins of Justin, TX, surprised his wife, Karen, for their 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary last March by buying a trip to Reader Weekend for them. Then he received an email saying signed copies of Marie’s books could be preordered and picked up at event registration. So he planned Big Surprise #2 and ordered the entire Gansett Island and Green Mountain series signed by Marie.</p><img src=”” alt=”” width=”258″ height=”294″ /> <em>Maribel, Marie and Thomas</em><p>Maribel Campagnolo says her husband, Thomas, is “a charmer.” He bought them a trip to Reader Weekend for Mother’s Day. Maribel and Thomas have three grown sons and a granddaughter. One son and the granddaughter live with them in Freehold, NJ. They moved expertly around the dance floor at the Reader Weekend reception Friday night. Dancing is a skill they’ve honed during their 37 years together, 34 as husband and wife. Clearly, they’ve got the romance thing down to a science.</p><p>Maribel became a fan after reading <em>Maid for Love</em>. She’s subsequently read many more of Marie’s books. Then she started following Marie on Facebook, connecting with fans who “pull you right in,” to the FanGirls groups.</p><p>“I love that Marie’s so free with her personal life,” Marisol said. “She makes you feel like you’re part of her family.”</p><p>To prepare for Reader Weekend, the Campagnolos read about the area and looked at pictures on social media.</p><p>“I felt like a child. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Maribel said while on the ferry to Block Island on Saturday of Reader Weekend. “This is my version of Disney.”</p><img src=”×684.jpg” alt=”” width=”313″ height=”209″ /> <em>Brent and Karen</em><p>Brent and Karen had visited Block Island in the past, and Karen had pointed out all the Gansett sites. Brent was intrigued, so Karen started rereading the books—in some instances for the third time —this time, aloud and to her husband. Soon, he was following Marie on social media, too.</p><p>“I actually like the books,” Brent says. “They’re great stories.” He also says it’s “fascinating” the way Marie can come up with all the interconnected stories that together form Gansett and Marie’s other series.</p><p>On the ferry ride to Block Island, Thomas and Maribel said they’d never been to Block Island. Now they know they’ll be coming back. They smiled at the notion that reading Marie’s books is good for a romance, no matter how many years the couple has been together.</p><p>“We still like each other after all these years,” Maribel says.</p><p><em>by Cheryl Serra, director of publicity</em></p>

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